2 List-Making Habits Guaranteed to Shrink Your Soul


So and so didn’t speak to me at church yesterday…she didn’t even make eye contact!    

I can’t believe she said that…my feelings were really hurt…

Well, back in 1992, he was a real pain to work with…

I remember how she lived back in high school…

Believe me, he can’t be trusted…

It’s real and it’s dangerous. That soul-shrinking habit of keeping track of the offenses of others, and in the process, hanging on to unforgiveness.

Oh, how we love to keep those lists! That good ‘ole running-tally of the mistakes and perceived slights of those around us.  thQJ0BPS20We know that God calls us to forgive, but what if the offender is never sorry for what they’ve done? Shouldn’t we make sure they know how offended we are? What if they don’t deserve forgiveness?

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. (Psalm 130:3-4 NIV)

When I read this verse, I feel so foolish hanging on to unforgiveness. Can you even imagine having to bear the weight of every sin we’ve ever committed?

Did Jesus die for everyone…except for that one person who drives us crazy?

Check out this next verse. I LOVE how it reads from The Message:

Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. (Galatians 6:1,2)

Are we keeping a running-tally on anyone?

Has any bitterness taken root in our heart?

Don’t we want to be free of it, so we can lay claim to that abundant life we’re always hearing about?

Another equally dangerous list-making habit involves keeping track of our own offenses. You know, those dreaded regrets…I’ve done this, and I’ll always be defined by it. God could never use me because of my past…thGF1I5YOH

So, what are we actually saying?

Lord, I really appreciate what you did on the cross and all, but it wasn’t quite enough to cover ____________ (you fill in the blank).

Satan loves to point fingers and to remind us of past mistakes. When he does, we need to remind him of what Jesus has done for us on the cross.

1 John 1:9 (ESV) reads, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we confess…He is faithful.

Once more—If we confess…He is faithful.

Getting back to Psalm 130, God wants to lift from our shoulders (and hearts), the weight of living with condemnation and regrets. But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

Freedom to serve the One who removes our chains—what a gift!

So the next time we feel offended, or we’re struggling under the weight of regret, let’s add a couple of names to a list that’s sure to shake the foundations of hell and cause our souls to soar:

A list of burdened hearts to take before the Throne of Grace.

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